Former Chile national manager Jorge Sampaoli has almost confirmed that Antonio Conte will be taking charge of Chelsea in the summer.
Sampaoli also claimed that he was Blues’ owner Roman Abramovich’s first choice to take charge of the club, but his lack of knowledge of English ended his hopes of landing the job.
“I had a meeting with Chelsea’s owner, and he told me that I was the first option,” he told Argentine station Radio Vorterix, via Daily Mail. “I was about to be their new coach.
“But then Conte appeared, and it became a competition between us. It was him or me. I needed some time in order to improve my English, but this kind of club doesn’t give you that time.”
Sampaoli, who won the Copa America title with Chile last summer, was considered to be one of the favourites to land the job at Stamford Bridge by the media.
The Blues are now expected to announce the appointment of Antonio Conte as their permanent manager on a three-year deal, as Italian FA President Carlo Tavecchio announced that Conte would step down as Azzurri coach after this summer’s European Championships in France, according Football-Italia.
Meanwhile, current manager Guus Hiddink is expected to move into a role at board level at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea are currently placed tenth in the league table and are almost certain to miss out on European football for next season.